Notebook: UF's Jenkins to miss bowl
Published: Monday, November 26, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 26, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.
Florida starting outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins underwent surgery Monday for a broken bone in his foot and is not expected to play in the Gators' bowl game in January.
“He probably will miss the bowl game. Not certain,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “There's a medical term for it. It's a small bone in his foot. He should be fine. It's a four to six-week recovery and he'll be fine.”
Jenkins injured his foot in the third quarter of UF's 37-26 victory over Florida State on Saturday. He was replaced by true freshman Antonio Morrison, who made a game-changing play in the fourth quarter when his big hit on quarterback EJ Manuel forced a fumble that led to a touchdown.
Muschamp announced Monday that two other players — offensive guard Ian Silberman and safety De'Ante Saunders (undisclosed injury) — also will miss the bowl game.
Linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) and defensive tackle Leon Orr (kidney infection) will play in the bowl game, Muschamp said.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel, who missed the Jacksonville State game with a sprained right ankle, is back in a walking boot this week, but Muschamp said he is fine.
“Jeff is just sore,” Muschamp said.
Starting center Jon Harrison also is in a walking boot after spraining his ankle in the FSU game.
“He's fine,” Muschamp said.
Driskel clear No. 1 going into '13
Driskel's overall strong performance this season has solidified his status as Florida's quarterback heading into next season.
When Muschamp was asked if there is any scenario where Driskel isn't the starter heading into 2013, he said, “No.”
“First-year starter, you win 11 games, you've accomplished an awful lot,” Muschamp said. “Certainly, his legs and us being able to stay multiple in the run because of what he was able to do (is important).
“The guy is a tough guy. He went out there (against FSU) not full speed and played very well against an elite defense. Certainly, his growth through the offseason will be critical for our success next season.”
Muschamp said he is not worried about the attitude of his No. 2 quarterback (Jacoby Brissett) even though it's obvious Driskel is UF's quarterback moving forward.
“No. Jacoby has been great,” Muschamp said. “And Jacoby knows that he is one snap away and is a guy that we have a lot of confidence in.”
Juniors eyeing the NFL
Muschamp said he has already had conversations with several top underclassmen who will have the opportunity to leave after the season to pursue an NFL career.
“I've had conversations with some guys as early as yesterday and today,” he said. “We'll handle that when the bowl game is over. That is not a conversation we are going to have every press conference before the bowl game.”
Muschamp said he encourages underclassmen to submit paperwork to the NFL to determine where they might go in the draft.
“Then I sit down with them and give them input I've gotten from NFL people,” Muschamp said. “But some agent isn't going to give you the right information, I can assure you of that. We have a good process here just being really honest and open with our players.
“If a guy is going to be a first-round pick, I'm probably going to tell him to go to the NFL. That's just my policy. If he's not and he can improve himself, then I suggest he comes back.”
Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is considered a possible first-round pick by some of the draft analysts. Junior safety Matt Elam also could be a fairly high draft pick, possibly second round, if he decides to come out early.
Purifoy a two-way player in 2013?
Starting sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy could end up playing on both sides of the ball next season. Purifoy lined up some at wide receiver in the second half of the season and could be more of a factor on offense in the future, Muschamp said.
“Loucheiz is going to be a corner for us,” Muschamp said. “But, at the end of the day, we've got to create a role for him because he is an explosive guy. He makes plays with the ball in his hands. He has tremendous ball skills.
“You can't ever have enough of those guys, and we need to have more. He's a guy that we're going to find a role as we move forward in every game to get explosive guys the ball. He's one of those guys at this time.”
WR coach search begins
Muschamp said he is ready to begin his search for a new wide receivers coach. It's pretty apparent Bush Hamdan, the graduate assistant who handled the role this season, will be among the candidates.
“I'm going to talk to some receiver coaches at this point,” Muschamp said. “Bush and I met (Sunday) and he's done a fantastic job this year. How we move forward and the timetable, I have none right now.”
Muschamp said he does not expect any other changes on his coaching staff. But he said he'll be prepared if he needs to find a replacement.
“This is a great place to work and we've got a good, young football team and we're going to be good for a long time, OK,” Muschamp said. “I always tell our staff this: If you have an opportunity for a promotion, if you're a position coach and you can be a coordinator, if you're a coordinator and you can be a head coach, I'll support you a thousand percent. That says what kind of job we're doing here at Florida.
“Guys that want to make parallel moves and they're always looking for the next job, they don't need to be here anyway. We'll go find a good coach. There's a bunch of people that want to coach here. There's a long list at my desk.”